I thought my heart was going to burst. I was struggling to breathe. The faces in front of me blurred. The most awesome thing about all of this was that I was standing in front of a crowd.
I couldn’t fake my way through it.
So I just said these words: “Hey ladies, something’s wrong and I’m not sure what it is.”
I was at a mom’s conference with about 6,000 other women. Wow, mom’s really know what to do in a pinch. One ran up with juice. Another took my pulse. Another whipped out a blood sugar monitor and before I could say, “Umm, no thanks,” she had pricked my finger.
“Yep, you’re blood sugar has just crashed,” she said.
My body was telling me that getting up at 3 a.m. to drive to the airport, landing and immediately going into ministry mode, not sleeping well that night because 6000 moms who have been loosed from their children are partying in their rooms, starting again the next day at 5:30 a.m. and speaking three times in a row without an option to eat lunch wasn’t the best plan.
I crashed. It wasn’t fun, and mortifying is a mild way to describe what happened. As yuk as that moment was, it wasn’t my real experience with anxiety.
The next time I stood to speak at a different event in a different state was. . .
Because if it happened once, it might happen again.
I had my stash of almonds. I wouldn’t miss eating again.
I brought ear plugs. Let the people in the room next to me party all they want. This girl was going to sleep.
I scheduled my flight later in the morning.
Yet there it was. My heart hammering over what might happen, rather than what was really taking place. I don’t want to treat this lightly because anxiety is a real deal for a lot of women. It’s not anything they have asked for and it’s often misunderstood.
Dealing with anxiety was new for me and I wanted nothing more than to make it go away. It gave me so much empathy for those who struggle. Those anxious feelings haunted me for nearly a year.
I believe the enemy of my soul delighted in taunting me just as I was about to step into the pulpit.
I believe the enemy also wanted me to quit. To allow those anxious thoughts to keep me from being who He knew I was — His girl who loved sharing the Gospel.
I wish I could say that the feelings went away quickly. They didn’t — not immediately, but Philippians 4 became a path to walk through them. He wasn’t asking me to pretend they weren’t there for the feelings were very real and present.
They were real, but so is He.
I had to believe that when I stepped up, somehow He’d meet me there. And He did every time. I’d thank Him for that, sometimes even as I sat on the front row, breathing deep, wondering how in the world I was going to stand when they called my name. But not too long into my message I’d settle into peace and His anointing and it was good.
That hard year of trusting Him in spite of anxious thoughts was a beautiful confirmation. The things I do, the things that I am, it’s not always about me. I couldn’t stand up there and say, “Hey, I got this!” but rather I could trust that He was waiting on stage, ready to cheer me on as I stepped up in spite of my feelings.
Anxious thoughts can show up in a thousand different ways.
I’m not going to ask you to pretend that this isn’t a battle or that it’s not real.
Instead, I want you to know that He’s waiting on the other side of your anxious thoughts. It’s an adventure of sorts. I know I use that word a lot, but it’s where He often leads me.
Are you going to trust me?
Do you know that I can use your life to impact others (in your family, in ministry, in friendships) even if you have anxious thoughts?
He’s big like that.
Eventually the anxious thoughts went away. I don’t miss them at all.
I don’t know if it was a spiritual battle or if it’s just what happens when your blood sugar crashes in front of a room of people and you can’t do anything about it.
I still pack my almonds. I still pack my earplugs. But I also pack in the truth that He offers peace for my mind and guards my heart. He’s going to meet me wherever I am, whatever I’m feeling (confident or not, anxious or not), and He’s with me in whatever I’m doing.
Today is #livefreeThursday. We’re talking honestly and bravely about anxiety or adventure all day long. I hope you’ll join in. You can #linkup or just leave a comment below.
Tell us your story or share your encouragement with someone else. Let us pray with you if you’re dealing with anxious thoughts.
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